The mice, alive or dead, some in bloody pieces
would appear in our bedroom at night: you could hear our tawny Abyssinian’s
entrance because she would be growling softly.
Then the torture would begin — friend of mine once said:
if they weren’t so beautiful you wouldn’t have them in the house
— Katisha would torture those mice; we would hear their screams.
Next morning she would lie in the sun peacefully performing her toilette,
curve herself into a gold clad Egyptian sculpture and sleep
in the same pose as our old gray cat, Circe, whose hunting days were past.
As the summer drew west, Katisha began leaving mice within swatting distance
of snoozing Circe, who would instantly perk up, have a nice little hunt and torture,
a pleasant crunchy supper, and drift into a long soft sleep.
Looking back, the barometer of Circe’s health was probably that
the mice Katisha brought for Circe’s edification where progressively more disabled
so that the old cat could enjoy a sadistic activity within her capability.
One afternoon in late August, someone found gray Circe, at rest, on a neighbor’s lawn.
We planted a black walnut at the head of the little patch of turned earth.
Now Katisha eats all the kills herself, but she questions me endlessly.